Vitalogy/Vs. Box Set Articles

by Kathy Davis on February 2, 2011


The Real Deal

With the PearlJam.com news of the Vitalogy/Vs. Box Set release/pre-order, the heavy hitters have some great posts. Here are a few nice articles about the March 29th release…

First, Billboard.com has a great article re-iterating the band’s collective and individual plans for the year;

Next: RollingStone.Com has some exclusive quotes from Kelly Curtis and Jeff about the upcoming release. Click here for the full article, excerpted below.

“When we put out the Ten box set a few years ago we had enough content to justify the cost of a box set,”  Pearl Jam’s manager Kelly Curtis tells Rolling Stone. “We didn’t have enough content this time, so we put the two albums together so there’s value for the fans.”

“The first two weeks we were making Vs. we were pretty cranked up and we were writing music faster than Ed could write lyrics,” says Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament. “That was a pretty solid piece of music that Ed didn’t get to. Mike McCready came up with the riff. It’s a powerhouse song that showcases Dave Abbruzzese on drums quite a bit.”

Vitalogy’s new editions will include a guitar/organ mix of “Betterman,” an alternate take of “Corduroy” and an unreleased demo of “Nothingman” with Richard Stuverud on drums. “After the huge success of Ten we definitely felt pressure when making the follow-ups, particularly Ed,” says Ament. “We were grounded enough to know that Ten wasn’t our best work. That took some of the pressure off. I don’t think we were as worried about selling records as making really good music.” The box set will also have a recording of Pearl Jam’s April 12th, 1994 gig at Boston’s Orpheum Theater – a fan favorite.

Fans willing to shell out big bucks will have the option of buying a limited edition version of the set with five LPs, four CDs, one cassette, an 80-page composition notebook and a memorabilia-filled envelope. In addition to both albums on vinyl and the 1994 Boston show, the set has a cassette of a January 8th, 1995 broadcast from Pearl Jam’s Monkeywrench/Self-Pollution radio series. “That was a little pirate radio station that we set up in a van on tour,” says Ament. “It was just a way to play with our friends, but we recorded all of it on 24-track so we have great versions of all the songs we did.”

The band’s 20th anniversary celebration will continue with the release of Cameron Crowe’s Pearl Jam documentary Twenty and an accompanying soundtrack and book in the fall. Around that time the band will play a “weekend bash” somewhere in the middle of the country. “We’ve been talking about doing something like this for a long time,” says Ament. “We hope to have it locked down pretty soon so we can start asking our friends if they want to play a couple of shows with us. It if winds up being a two-day thing we’ll probably play both days. It’s in the infancy stages right now.”

Plans beyond the festival are unclear. “All I know for sure is that we have most of the summer off,” says Ament. “The idea was to maybe play a few shows after that.”

Adam Richter, a post-er at LehighValley Live, penned a nice article outlining the merits of splashing out the cash for this baby – if you’re reading this it’s likely not even a question you’re asking yourself, but it’s worth a read. Click here for the complete.

  1. The remastered “Ten” sounds a billion times better than the original. I’m sympathetic to the argument that artists should stop tinkering with their works the moment they get released to the public (hear that, George Lucas?). But two years ago the expanded edition of “Ten” actually improved the sound of the original. The second disc, re-engineered by Brendan O’Brien, made the songs sound even better. This bodes well for the “Vs.”and “Vitalogy” reissues.
  2. The package includes a rare 1994 concert CD. Pearl Jam has always been a dynamic live band, throwing everything they have into each performance. They do that now, when they’re all approaching 50. Can you imagine what they must have sounded like still in their 20s? A news release calls the band’s April 12, 1994, concert at the Orpheum Theater in Boston one of the “most sought-after recordings among serious aficionados.” That may be press-release hype, but a live Pearl Jam CD rarely disappoints.
  3. Both reissues are available on vinyl. If you still believe in the beauty of the LP record, you can wait until April 12, when both albums will be released individually on vinyl — a single LP for “Vs.” and double LP for “Vitalogy.” Pearl Jam has long catered to the turntable crowd, and they continue with this reissue. If you want to go overboard, you can get the superdeluxe package: 5 LPs, 4 CDs, 1 cassette, a digital download, composition notebook and memorabilia-filled envelope. Even the Boston show is on LP in this compilation.

Box Set Rock!

Kathy Davis ( Twitter: @CrookedArm23 )
A Bay-Area based entrepreneur, co-editor Kathy conceives and writes her share of TFT’s articles and sections. She was co-editor/co-founder of one of the first Pearl Jam fanzines "Footsteps" (1992-1997). Kathy’s first Pearl Jam show was at the Bridge School Benefit on November 1, 1992.

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